Devoted Padiham care worker who lost her husband to cancer and beat Covid-19 volunteers for duty on Christmas Day

2020 has seen courageous and caring grandmother Davina McGeorge lose her husband to cancer and test positive for Covid-19.

By Susan Plunkett
Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 11:28 am

But, far from feeling sorry for herself, health care worker Davina will be spending her landmark 70th birthday, which happens to fall on Christmas Day, at her post helping to bring some cheer to those spending the festive season in hospital.

Davina said: "I am truly blessed to have wonderful family, friends and work colleagues who are so kind and caring.

" I absolutely love my job so working on Christmas Day and my birthday will be a pleasure.

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Davina with her late husband Ian and their daughter Tracy.

"I will be happy to spend it with the patients as many of them have not been able to see their relatives.

"We will make sure it is a really happy day."

Davina's colleagues on B4 elderly and infirm ward at the Royal Blackburn Hospital are in awe of her devotion to her role which she has no intention of retiring from yet.

Ward manager Louise Brown said Davina, who lives in Padiham, was extra special as there aren't many people still working for the NHS at the age of 70.

Davina and Ian with their granddaughters Jessica and Franchesca

Louise said: "Davina is always thinking of others before herself and she is so full of energy and always has a smile on her face.

"She is so kind and caring with the patients, they, and all the staff just love her and we really want her to be recognised and celebrated for volunteering to work on her birthday and Christmas Day."

A care worker for 32 years, Davina spent 21 of those working at Burnley General Hospital. She took time off to care for her husband, Ian, who died in June aged 68 after a brave battle against pancreatic and prostate cancer.

Together for 53 years, Ian died just before their 46th wedding anniversary. A keen gardener who was noted for his green fingered skills in their hometown, Ian ran his own business, Padiham Pest Control, for several years.

Davina with her husband Ian who died in June after a brave battle against cancer

Davina, who has a daughter Tracy and two granddaughters Jessica (13) and four-year-old Francesca, said: "He never once complained all the time he was ill even though he was in a lot of pain.

"To lose someone who has been by your side all those years is devastating but, thanks to my wonderful family, friends and colleagues, I have got through.

"I am on my own but not on my own thanks to them and I feel so blessed. I have a reason to get up everyday."

Even coronavirus could not keep this amazing lady down! Davina contracted the virus last month and has only recently returned to work.

Davina and Ian on their wedding day 46 years ago

She said: "I felt really tired and rotten and the test came back positive but, like everything in life, you just have to get on with it."

Davina's role involves taking care of patients by making sure they are washed and comfortable and bringing them drinks and anything else they need.

She was inspired to go into care work by her grandfather, who she looked after when she was younger, after he retired from his job as a signalman in Padiham.

Davina has worked in a variety of different places, including the former Mullard's factory in Simonstone where she worked in the switchboard and office. She also spent some time working at Birtwistle's Bakery and the former White Horse pub in Padiham.

After her Christmas Day shift Davina can look forward to a family dinner with Tracy, her partner Gareth Harrison, their girls and close family friend Gemma Seymour-Simpson.

Tracy said: "I am so proud of my mum and I could not have asked for better parents.

"They brought me up to show love and respect and to just get on with life. It has been a terrible year but never once has my mum felt sorry for herself.

"We will make it a special Christmas for her and even though he is not here my dad will definitely be with us in spirit."